Vatican rocked ahead of abuse summit…
Report: Francis Knowingly Promoted Lewd “Bishop” from Argentina to Vatican Position
[UPDATE 22-JAN-19: Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti issues Second Statement on Zanchetta case]
With approximately one month to go before the much-touted sex abuse summit to be held in Rome, yesterday a story broke that can only be described as dragging the Vatican from the frying pan into the fire.
Earlier this month, it was revealed that “Bp.” Gustavo Óscar Zanchetta of Orán, Argentina, is accused of the sexual abuse of seminarians. The embattled Novus Ordo bishop had abruptly resigned from his diocese in 2017, then mysteriously vanished for a few months, only to be appointed by “Pope” Francis to a comfortable Vatican position created specifically for him. It’s an odd sequence of events, and Francis didn’t come out looking too good. Here are links to some reports with the details:
- “Argentine bishop promoted by Pope Francis at Vatican accused of abusing seminarians”
- “Vatican: Argentine Bishop at Holy See Under Investigation”
- “Pope risks rare double ‘own goal’ in case of Argentine bishop”
- “The Zanchetta case: a fatal blow to the Pope’s reputation as a reformer”
- “Francis From Innocent To Guilty. Bad News From His Argentina”
But now the manure is really hitting the fan. Yesterday, the Associated Press broke a story which other news outlets immediately picked up:
- “Vatican knew of Argentine bishop misconduct” (Associated Press)
- “Report: Pope Francis knew about Argentina bishop’s sexual misconduct prior to Vatican promotion”
- “Report: Vatican already knew about Argentine bishop’s sexual misconduct”
The central claim: “Bp.” Zanchetta had taken pictures of his naked self and “exhibited ‘obscene’ behavior” in Oran, and when Francis brought him to the Vatican in late 2017, he knew about it. This accusation does not come from some anonymous or no-name anti-Franics source; rather, it comes from the testimony of the former vicar general of the Oran diocese, “Fr.” Juan José Manzano:
Manzano, Oran’s vicar general under Zanchetta who is now a parish priest, said he was one of the diocesan officials who raised the alarm about his boss in 2015 and sent the digital selfies to the Vatican.
In an interview with AP in the pews of his St. Cayetano parish in Oran, Manzano said he was one of the three current and former diocesan officials who made a second complaint to the Vatican’s embassy in Buenos Aires in May or June of 2017 “when the situation was much more serious, not just because there had been a question about sexual abuses, but because the diocese was increasingly heading into the abyss.”
“In 2015, we just sent a ‘digital support’ with selfie photos of the previous bishop in obscene or out of place behavior that seemed inappropriate and dangerous,” he told AP in a follow-up email. “It was an alarm that we made to the Holy See via some friendly bishops. The nunciature didn’t intervene directly, but the Holy Father summoned Zanchetta and he justified himself saying that his cellphone had been hacked, and that there were people who were out to damage the image of the pope.”
(Almudena Calatrava, Natacha Pisarenko, and Nicole Winfield, “Vatican knew of Argentine bishop misconduct”, Crux, Jan. 20, 2019)
Be sure to read the entire article, which contains many more important details, but which we cannot quote here for copyright reasons.
Manzano’s testimony seems to contradict the statement released on Jan. 3 by the Vatican’s new press secretary, Alessandro Gisotti, who had asserted: “No charges of sexual abuse had arisen [against Zanchetta] at the time of appointment as advisor. The accusations of sexual abuse date back to this  fall” (source).
Juan José Manzano in a 2009 picture
At the same time, Manzano has said that he is not trying to put blame on the “Pope”: “Manzano defended Francis’s handling of the case, saying the pope himself should be considered a victim of Zanchetta’s ‘manipulation'”, according to the Associated Press report. In other words: This man does not have it out for Francis, he is merely testifying to what he has knowledge of.
Zanchetta’s defense that someone “hacked” his cell phone is laughable on the face of it, since that still wouldn’t explain how there could be obscene pictures of himself on there.
The sequence of events in the Zanchetta case leading up to yesterday’s bombshell report are sufficiently bizarre to render the whole affair suspect. Francis himself had picked Zanchetta to be a “bishop” as one of his first choices after becoming head of the Vatican II Sect, on July 23, 2013. Zanchetta remained leader of the Oran diocese until his sudden retirement a mere four years later, on Aug. 1, 2017 at the age of 53, reportedly made for “health reasons.” Interestingly enough, Francis was quick to accept the abrupt resignation: It took him only three days, whereas “such procedures can take months” at other times, according to the Associated Press.
On Dec. 19 of the same year, Francis appointed his compatriot “assessor” of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA), a position which until that day had not even existed. This is where things get really interesting:
But all the while Zanchetta was settling into his new role in Rome, the rumor mill was churning back home in Argentina. There was speculation by El Tribuno newspaper in Salta, Argentina, that he had a drug problem after he allegedly refused to allow police to search his vehicle during a routine traffic stop, citing his role as a high-ranking bishop as the reason he did not have to succumb to the search.
Then rumors started to swirl that Zanchetta had paid off three whistle-blowing priests who had apparently reported him to the local papal nuncio, or Vatican representative, in Argentina.
If true, it would have meant that the nuncio would have alerted members of the Roman Curia in Rome. Then one of two things would have happened. As an Argentinean that Francis made a bishop, the pope was either informed of the trouble on his home turf, or protected from it.
The charges laid out in the Argentinean press include mismanagement of diocese funds to buy the silence of several young seminarians between the ages of 20 and 25 that Zanchetta had allegedly sexually harassed and tried to convince to enter into a sexual relationship. El Tribuno cites “masturbation, groping and psychological pressure” brought on by the powerful bishop against the priests in training. One report outlines lavish gifts used to buy the silence of the young seminarians.
When the rumors started to take shape, authorities in Argentina launched an official inquiry into allegations of clerical sex abuse that were first reported by El Tribuno paper, according to a statement sent to all accredited journalists with the Holy See, by the Vatican’s new spokesman, Alessandro Gisotti, on the job less than a week after the resignation of American former Fox newsman Greg Burke, who resigned as spokesman on December 31.
(Barbie Latza Nadeau, “Pope Francis’ Argentinean Protegé Accused of Sex Abuse”, The Daily Beast, Jan. 4, 2019)
Although he has been trying to cast himself into a light of being the blameless and enraged tough guy who is going to clean house with those sexually abberant clerics, the evidence is increasingly mounting that Francis himself is part of the problem.
That this “Pope” has a clique of clerics who enjoy his special favor and protection is clear from his preferential treatment of certain shady characters in the last 5-6 years. Among them are without doubt “Cardinal” Oscar Rodriguez-Maradiaga, “Abp.” Victor Fernandez, and “Mgr.” Battista Ricca. Even “Bp.” Juan Barros was apparently among them until the publicly available evidence became so serious that Francis was no longer able to maintain the status quo without compromising his credibility by exposing himself as a manifest hypocrite.
This latest revelation regarding the Zanchetta case is yet another bombshell exploding over the Vatican a few weeks before the four-day abuse summit is to begin, a conference for which the Unholy See has already, by the way, “lowered expectations.”
Considering what else has recently been announced will be revealed next month about the sexual shenanigans in the Modernist Vatican, one cannot help but wonder if it was in anticipation of these things that Francis’ spokesmen Greg Burke and Paloma Ovejero so abruptly left their posts at a mere 24 hours’ notice on January 1 — a resignation which Francis, too, accepted immediately.
Time will tell, but it looks like 2019 could be an even worse year for Club Francis than 2018 was.
Image source: Diócesis De La Nueva Orán / pquialapurisima2.blogspot.com (cropped)
License: Fair use / fair use